Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Abandoned

The Abandoned is a 2006 movie that stars people you probably won't recongnize (Anastasia Hille, Carlos Reig, Valentin Ganev, and Karel Roden). It was one of the 2006 After Dark Horror Fest movies. And from what I have heard, the spookiest of the lot.

It tells the story of 40-ish Marie, an American who has been asked to come back to Russia to inherit her family farm deep in the Russian woods. She was a baby when adopted and moved to America, and has never known her true parents or any other family. She agrees to go and proceeds to make the trip, sees the notary regarding the property, and then pays someone to take her to the location - where apparently no one else wants to go after dark. Not a good sign in my book.

This part of the film generates a whole shitload of atmosphere as you just feel flat-out frightened for her while she is traveling to the home with a Russian dude she doesn't even know. The woods are deep and thick, with dark skies, endless masses of pines, and a singular dirt road in to the place. In fact, she is told the home sits on an 'island' of sorts, and they have to cross a bridge over a river to reach it, making it all the more inaccessible. You have this creepy feeling that someone or something could jump out at any time.

Thankfully, that does not really happen, but her driver stops just prior to reaching the house and states he will go on ahead and make sure there are no 'animals' around. (huh? is she supposed to be more afraid of a raccoon than this burly, intimidating Russian?) He does not return, so she forages out looking for him. Not locating him, she stumbles across a dilapatated house - the Kardinovsky farm, which is what she was searching for. Her family estate. She enters, and it is possibly the most run-down, decaying old piece of crap house you've ever seen. The house in The Blair Witch Project... similar but this might just be creepier, at least inside.

Of course nearly immediately she hears noises upstairs and runs upstairs to see what it was. (As if any sane human being would do this) She finds nothing. When in the room she notices someone walking by out of the corner of her eye. She chases after her and upon catching up notices it is her 'doppleganger' - someone who looks exactly like her, except that this person is dead... with pasty white skin, transparent eyes, and dripping wet. She screams and runs outside, and in turn sees her driver speeding away, leaving her stranded there. She chases after him but somehow (?) runs right into the river and falls in.

When she wakes up there is a man sitting at a table in the room she is in, lights aglow. He is searching through her wallet and she calls him on it. His name is Nikolai and he explains he thinks he is her brother. He produces the same picture of a Russian woman that Marie has and states the same notary called him. He says they are twins. He shows her the nursery upstairs with two cribs. She tells him about the lifeless woman she saw and he clarifies that when you see your doppleganger, it is a warning of imminent death.

Soon after, Nikolai's own apparition appears. They try to run from the ghosts and somehow (?) Nikolai falls through a hole in the floor. (Say what?) Marie runs to find something to help him get out but when she returns the hole is no longer there, and neither is Nikolai.

Right around this point in the film things start to unwind, logically. Marie heads back upstairs (why would you do this?) and witnesses an event from the past that helps her to understand exactly what happened in this house, to her parents, and the reason for the 'hauntings'...

I can't give away any more, but even if I did you may still be hard pressed to understand. But I was creeped out by this movie enough to purchase it. It has a sinister overtone, and much can be said of the effects and unnerving ambience of the whole thing. It's so dark and ghoulish.
The house alone, is dread-inducing. There was a bit of obligatory gore in there too, to make everyone happy.
Anyway, I have to say I liked it alot, even with the plot holes and semi-non-sensical ending. So I say give it a look-see.

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